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Taiwan: int’l students oppose cost of quarantine

The Ministry of Education in Taiwan is encouraging universities to allow international students to quarantine on-campus instead of at specially designated quarantine hotels as complaints about the costs involved begin to mount.

International students must quarantine for two weeks upon entering Taiwan. Photo: Pixabay

Two days in a quarantine hotel costs as much as a semester's on-campus accommodation

All international students are required to quarantine for 14 days (counted from the day after arriving in Taiwan) following the recent announcement that they could return to the country.

“The Ministry of Education should provide special subsidies for overseas health and epidemic prevention expenses”

The government then clarified that the border will be open to all students except those from China, of whom several thousand study in Taiwan each year but whose enrolment numbers are capped.

Depending on the institution, some universities are trying to house quarantining students in their own accommodation – and are asking international students to arrive early to enable this – or else sending them to assigned quarantine hotels.

However, students are expected to cover the costs of these hotels themselves and some have complained it is simply too expensive.

In Taipei, where they are 41 quarantine hotels, most have been fully booked. Average prices at the hotels start from around NT$2,500 (£64) per night, although some are offering a fortnight in “small rooms without windows” for as little as NT$1,000 (£27) per night.

While there are more upscale and comfortable options available, such as Home Hotel Da’An’s quarantine package in its “Deluxe Marvellous Bedroom”, a two week stay would cost a hefty NT$110,600 (£3,360).

To put this in perspective, the National Taiwan University charges approximately NT$5,100 (about US$170) per semester for on-campus accommodation (including utilities), while “renting a single room in a shared apartment outside campus costs about NT$6,000-8,000 per month”. 

The Taiwan International Student Movement has called for the MoE to “actively assist” universities in increasing option for quarantine and to lift restrictions against Chinese students.

“The Ministry of Education should provide special subsidies for overseas health and epidemic prevention expenses, especially for those in poor economic situations,” they said.

“Political considerations should not deprive students of their education rights, and the Ministry of Education should make decisions based on education considerations.”

According to data from the TISM, 70% of the 47 Taiwanese schools that had arranged for students to stay in epidemic prevention hotels have done so with those that charge NT$2,000 (£54) or more a day.

Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the “National University of Taiwan”. It has since been updated to “National Taiwan University”.

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